Why I do it ::
In my first week as trainee in Rotterdam, my first job after graduation, I had an enlightening experience.
I would usually stay later in the office to work, because... well, because I’m Italian and this is what we learn: you have to work more, work later, show your dedication. The young Dutch architect that I was working with had been Erasmus in Spain, he understood the different mindset I had, but there, in the Netherlands, it’s different. He said: “If you work more, longer hours, it’s not good, it’s not a sign of dedication, it’s a sign that you are not good enough in organizing your work in the 8 hours you are given. And therefore you’re a liability and most probably you will not keep the job.”
I’ve been working almost 10 years in the Netherlands, and between the many great experiences I had, this is the teaching I treasure the most: Creativity and Organization can coexist. This is the only way to make a project sustainable, for the practice and for the individual.
As architects, we know far too well the sleepless nights, the loooong weekends, the meetings at 7pm to get the presentation ready for the morning after, the jam at the plotter that just doesn’t want to plot at the right scale, the treasure hunt for that file that was just in that folder but somehow we can’t find… And the list goes on. But is just doesn’t have to be this way, or at least there is definitely room for improvement.
In every office I ever worked for, I’ve always been the one who ‘made it work’, who organized, managed, coordinated, found the missing files. That chat in the Rotterdam office simply helped me coming out and unleashing the organization freak I’ve always been.
I do believe firmly that a clear and flexible organization allows to be free. It allows to spend less time in boring but necessary tasks; it allows to have more time available for what we really like doing; it ultimately allows to have a better balance between the energies spent and the actual economic return, a connection that it’s not often clear in our profession.
And this is the path I like to walk along with the architects I work with as a Consultant, offering my experience to help improving the work-flow and setting up specific and customized tools, procedures and structures in order to get that balance right and maximize the existing resources.